Start small, but invest in yourself, students advised at workshop

NEW ORLEANS (March 9, 2018) – Invest in yourself now by learning money management, even if you have to start small, advised Marc Barnes, vice president of institutional advancement, at the first of three Bleu Skills Money Matters workshops Monday.

“You are your most important bill,” so budget and save now for a better future, Barnes told 15 students in the Student Union Ballroom.

The next of two additional seminars have been scheduled for the next two Mondays: March 12 and 19. The first is on credit management, and the final session will be “Taxes 101.” All three are being held from 6-7:30 p.m. in the union.

To pre-register, go to, the link provided in the email to students on March 5. Students who attend all three sessions will receive a certificate of student achievement.

The first workshop covered budgets and how to get started on creating a flexible budget. Barnes, who has a background in banking, suggested starting small and keeping receipts for a month to see where your money actually goes and what you can reduce or eliminate, such as some of your fast-food trips.

He said it was important to be realistic about what you can and cannot afford, saying, “Develop the habit of not doing it,” such as a shopping spree or going out to eat. Instead, he said, save to buy periodic rewards “every now and then.”

Barnes said everyone has to start budgeting at some point, and it takes discipline to create and hold fast to a budget.

He recommended some phone applications to help you get started. For example, Mint: Budget, Bills, Finance is a free money management tool to track spending, budgets and help you learn to save.

Two other applications suggested that were not free included Digit Save Money Automatically, an automated application that will take a small amount of money from your banking account to a savings account, and You Need a Budget: Budget, Personal Finance.

Barnes emphasized the importance of saving by calling the individual his or her most important bill. He said pay yourself  first by placing 10 percent of your income in savings, and start investing in stocks, mutual funds, the IRA and a 401K as soon as it is feasible because “investing is something you can budget for now.”